Are there any plans to make a Japanese jointer plane
I had planned on doing that at one point, until I was fortunate and lucky enough for this to happen.
Wilbur, do you use saws that are disposable or only the expensive ones that can be resharpened? I love my cheap saw but can't bring myself to spend $250 for a saw I might or might not be able to resharpen. Thanks. Tim
Thanks for reading. I really appreciate it.
I use both. There is an advantage to using the more expensive Japanese saws in that those saws have plates that taper down as you move from the handle to the end of the saw, and as you move away from the tooth line towards the center if the saw is a ryoba. Vintage western saws were often made with a similarly tapered plate as well.
This taper gives more clearance for the saw as it advances in the kerf, and results in the saw being slightly smoother to use. It’s a hard thing to describe if you’ve never had the chance to use a saw with a tapered plate, Japanese or western, but the best I can compare it to is the difference between using a rehabbed and well-tuned Stanley #4 that you found at a flea market and using a Veritas or Lie-Nielsen plane.
$250 for a Japanese saw is a lot of money. But consider this: if you get a ryoba for that price, which is easily achievable, you are getting two saws for the price of one. And at $125 per saw, that’s a bargain considering the amount of handwork that goes into these saws.
Having said that, you can do a lot of really good work with the replaceable blade Japanese saws as well. I can appreciate the difference between using a high quality handmade Japanese saw and the machine-made replaceable blade Japanese saws. But I’d be hard pressed to say that there is a project that I couldn’t make if I only had the machine-made saws.
Hi, just recently user 'mafe' on lumberjocks created the dai for a japanese jointer plane from several pieces (like a Krenov style plane). This seems a lot easier for an amateur to do than from a single piece of oak. Do you see any cons to this?
For reference, here’s the writeup on Lumberjocks by mafe on making a Japanese plane by gluing up the body.
As a caveat, I haven’t tried to make a Japanese plane myself as of yet. The traditional way is to chop out the throat and the mouth of the plane from a solid block of wood. There are a few issues that I see with laminating the body.
First, if there is going to be a point where a Japanese plane fails over time, it’s usually by developing a split in the body by the mouth of the plane, as can be seen in the picture below. This is due to the body shrinking over time and running into the sides of the plane blade. A Japanese plane blade is wedge-shaped across its width, which may exacerbate this splitting issue.
Laminating a Japanese plane body together puts a glue line right where this potential crack can form. And although joint stress tests usually show that a glue line is stronger than the wood around it, if for some reason the glue line is less than ideal, this could lead to a greater chance of failure.
Having said that, I’ve talked with Scott Meek and Rhett Fulkerson, who both make excellent wooden planes using a laminated body construction, and neither one of them have had issues with this sort of failure with their planes. It should be noted that they both use western plane blades, which have parallel sides, and that the gap between their blades and the sides of the throat seems to be wider than what is typically seen in a Japanese plane, which gives more room for potential shrinkage.
Second, like all wooden planes, this type of Japanese plane will move over time with humidity changes. It’s not clear what a glue line running the length of the plane will do to the usual movement of water through the body of the plane. Larry Williams and Don McConnell have similar reservations about laminated plane construction and moisture movement.
Finally, aligning the various parts for the glue up seems to be enough trouble that I’m not sure how much benefit is gained by going through this process. If you wanted to make a smoothing plane by this process, you want to have the mouth as tight as possible. There seem to be enough pieces going together at the glue up stage that precisely placing the mouth seems problematic. I suppose you could glue the body together so that the mouth was deliberately too tight, and tweak it later, but then you might as well cut a mouth the traditional way.
As I mentioned before, I haven’t made a Japanese plane yet, so all of this is conjecture. But for grins, I took a piece of 8/4 oak and a 15mm chisel, and tried to see how much time it would take to chop out enough wood to make the throat of a Japanese plane. It was a lot less time than I thought it would be. In the grand scheme of things, that’s not that much time to be saved by going the lamination route.
“The history of mankind is in woodworking; all cultures have a story of how wood has been used both functionally and decoratively.”